A Lesson in Tenacity

In northern Kansas, a fly goes in for the kill.

The woman pushes it away.

The fly reels and then, like a child on a swing, comes right back to her. The woman pushes it away.

The two continue this swinging, pushing routine.

The woman has a feeling. At first, she thinks it’s annoyance. She came to the coffeehouse for tea, to do her work, eat her peanut butter bar discretely (No Outside Food or Drink, the sign on the door says).

But annoyance isn’t right. What the woman feels is begrudging admiration. The way she admires grass that grows up in sidewalks. Or the unyielding-ness of a metronome. The fly is tenacity personified - no, she thinks, insectified.

Her admiration doesn’t grow into affection; she is not enjoying the fly’s company. But she sees that it knows its priorities and will not be distracted from them.

The fly swings back to her. You know, buddy, she thinks as she pushes it away, I can be fly-like, too. The fly swings back. And not just with you, she pushes it away. I can be fly-like in my work projects and risk taking, working out, willingness to learn, fly-like in being honest.

And for an instant, only an instant, she feels affection for the fly, today’s instructor in persistence.

The Lightning Notes is funded by kind donors. If something here strikes you, I'd be grateful if you'd consider donating. Click to Donate!